Issues

Healthcare Issues

Reversing Escalating Healthcare Costs

Health care is a right not a privilege. As a society, we need to immediately start taking necessary steps to move towards a universal system. As we make the shift, we need to understand that the process will be a relay and not a sprint. As we take these responsible steps, we need to create a system that will not only insure all Americans today but will last for generations to come. Immediate steps:

  • Reducing the cost of prescription drugs:  Medicare and Medicaid need to have the right to negotiate drug prices.  We also need to set new guidelines regarding the marketing and distribution of secondary drugs which have been sold to a new manufacturer.
  • Vesting Schedules for Self-insured Plans:  Employer plans should be required to have a vesting period for long-term employees.  Once fully vested, an employee should have continued access to a self-insured plan until the age of 65.
  • Required cost structures for Self-insured Plans:  Employer plans should be required to offer benefits that are available to all full-time employees in an equitable manner.  Employers should be required to have a premium structure that takes into consideration different pay grades and are not set at prohibitive levels.
  • Medicare for All Option:  We need to implement a government option.  This would serve as one of the first steps towards moving to a universal system.  Americans who are currently struggling to find an affordable insurance option would have access to a government life-saving option.
Jobs Issues

Women In The Workplace

Kansas ranks in the middle third in the nation for women’s Employment & Earnings. We need protections passed in Congress that require women to receive equal pay and fair benefits which should include paid family leave. Below are some key findings regarding women in Kansas:

  • Equal Pay:  Women in Kansas currently receive approximately 77.1 cents on the dollar compared with men.  Trends among minority groups are more alarming. Hispanic women earn just 52 cents for every dollar earned by white men.
  • Paid Family Leave:  The United States is one of only three countries that does not require paid family leave (the others are the Republic of Suriname and Papua New Guinea).  When I had my daughter, I was shocked and enlightened regarding this important issue. We need to support working families and provide for paid family leave.
  • Equal Pay and Poverty:  If employed women in Kansas were paid comparable to men, the poverty rate for Kansas families would be reduced by nearly half.
  • Current Trends:  If the current trend continues, Kansas women will not receive equal pay until the year 2074.

Pay Inequality

We need to modernize the federal minimum wage system. We currently have a lagging system that is only adjusted about once every decade. We need a dynamic system that is adjusted annually and is tied to the cost of living index for each specific district. For example, some areas of the country need higher than $15 per hour.

The Economy

In Kansas’ Third Congressional District, we have unique economic challenges. Our two major counties face some shared challenges and some unique challenges.

  • Infrastructure (shared challenge):  All communities within the district need improvements to their aging infrastructure.  Infrastructure includes our roads, bridges, water, and sewer systems. The cost can be more than $1,000,000 per mile for some projects.  We need a firm financial commitment from the federal government in support of these local projects.
  • Unemployment rate (unique challenge):  According to the Kansas Department of Labor, the unemployment rate in Johnson County is 2.7% while the unemployment rate in Wyandotte County is 4.5%.  With valuable resources and workers throughout the district, we need businesses to invest in communities that offer the best opportunity for growth. Wyandotte County has a valuable skilled workforce and currently more availability.  We need to put incentives in place that leverage the strengths throughout the district.

Investment and Banking

The 2008 financial crisis hurt many communities throughout the district. More importantly, the recovery has not been shared equally. We need to pass legislation that requires investment in all communities.

  • The Community Reinvestment Act:  This law requires that banks lend to all segments in their communities, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.  It also is designed to reduce discriminatory credit practices. It sets regulations that encourage banks to meet the credit needs of their local communities.  This law needs to be modernized with a focus on first time home buyers, new small businesses, non-profits, and environmental investment.

School and Community Safety

Support of the 2nd Amendment is not in conflict with support of common sense solutions to the escalating epidemic.

  • Universal Background Checks
  • Age limits on certain purchases
  • Reinstatement of restrictions on military-style weapons
  • Limitations and oversight due to mental health

The Environment

Climate change is real and supported by science. We need to move forward on this issue since it is one of our greatest threats to society.

  • Embrace the Paris Climate Accord
  • Invest in Renewables:  Kansas has natural resources which include both wind and solar.  This is a growing sector for quality jobs and a valuable source of revenue to the State.
  • Environmental Protections:  We need a Congress that will serve as a check on the EPA.  We do not want another Flint, Michigan. We need oversight that protects society from excessive deregulation that could put communities at risk.

Jobs

Our district needs a comprehensive economic plan with Federal and State officials working together. We need an economic development push in underserved areas which would provide quality new jobs. We need to support retraining programs for displaced and aging workers. Too often displaced workers end up underemployed once they secure new employment. This is especially true with veteran workers. I also believe the federal minimum wage should be subject to annual cost of living adjustments.

Social Security & Medicare Issues

Medicare and Social Security

We must fulfill our promise to our seniors. I will fight to preserve Medicare and Social Security. As Americans, we have paid into these programs our entire lives and rely on them for a secure retirement.

Education Issues

Education

The price of higher education and vocational training programs is becoming unreachable for many. We need to work on making educational opportunities reachable for all. We need more transparency and oversight in the current student loan program system.

Common Sense Gun Safety Solutions

Our society has experienced far too many episodes of gun violence. Our families and children need to feel safe. Being a native of Kansas, I have a strong respect for our 2nd Amendment right. Kansas has a long tradition of owning guns for hunting, sport, and self-protection. History has recognized that there are reasonable limitations to that right. I support keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and those suffering from serious mental illness. I also support closing the gun show loophole for background checks. Lastly, technology has surpassed our current laws. I am for reinstating the assault weapons ban.

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